Thursday, October 31, 2013

1/2 marathon: achievement unlocked!

Well, I did it! I ran all 13.1 miles of the Rock 'n Roll 1/2 Marathon!  I'm pretty freaking proud of myself.  :)

The day started early, and it was cold. Because I have my weird cold leg syndrome thing, I was extremely worried about the cold temperature, so I layered up big-time. On my legs I wore: cold weather gear leggings, shorts, and fleece pants. I put those disposable hand warmers in each pocket and took generic benadryl about 30 minutes before the race.  Thankfully, it did the trick - no itchy/burning legs! Huzzah! Around mile 3 I ditched the fleece pants and was pretty comfortable (temperature-wise) the rest of the race.

I started strong. For the first 6 miles I had an even pace, and a good one for me (about 13:30). I was super happy. Feeling like I could run all day! Then mile 7 hit...

At mile 7, we began a 6.1 mile incline.  Okay, so I'm exaggerating, but only a little.  Hills to power through I trained for, a slight 6 mile incline I did not.  This about killed me, and definitely killed my time and my spirit. I met my goal primarily because I played mind-games with myself.  I had run 10 in training, so when I wanted to give up at mile 8, I wouldn't let myself: "You can start walking at mile 10, but you you will be so mad if you run less than you did in training. Walk at mile 10."  Then, at mile 10: "You only have 3 miles left; a measly 5K. Are you going to walk now? You can't walk now! Push through!"  Apparently my mind is easily tricked, and so I kept plugging along, on the hellish incline,and although some speed-walkers passed me by, I technically ran the whole thing, which was my goal!

The last 6 miles weren't all bad. There were a couple of short down hills (so we could go up again), and there were tons of people out cheering on random strangers; giving us high-fives, clapping and shouting how awesome we are, and my favorite sign which read, "If marathons were easy they'd be named 'your mom'"  :)

If I ever do a 1/2 again (and I'm not saying I will!), I would probably have a time goal, and I would walk every 3rd or 4th mile (which would undoubtedly improve my time). I would also consider NOT using MapMyRun. I trained with this app, and wanted to keep track of my pace so I was sure to out-run the sag-wagon.  The problem with running a race with this app is that it exposed a dirty little secret: I did not run 13.1 miles.

What? How?? Wahhh?  Well, of course corners, running around people, running towards the water, and all that jazz bit by bit, step by step, will add precious tenths of miles to one's distance.   As a result, I had about 3/4 a mile to go after my app told me I had gone 13 miles. I was mentally prepared to go 13.1 miles, so when the app told me this, I wanted to die. I knew I had come too far, and needed to finish the official 1/2 marathon to feel accomplished, but I tell ya, I did so slowly. Really slowly.

Official 1/2 Marathon Time: 3:24:21
MMR 13.1 mile time: 3:09.08

In the end I was hot, sweaty,  in pain, my face was covered in salt, and I was exhausted, but it was totally worth it.

After crossing the finish line I was greeted with banana's, pretzels, water, Gatorade and more goodies that I happily accepted. I was also greeted by my mom, brother-in-law and two of my nieces; it was awesome to have support at the finish line.  My sister and her co-worker finished not long after me (they walked), and we had a nice celebratory meal before going home to collapse on our couches..

It was a really fun day, and a great feeling to have a achieved a goal I trained so hard for.